During my time Ireland some friends and I decided to visit the UK during the Easter break. So, after spending a few days in London we also agreed to go Scotland as no one of us has been there before. Since we couldn’t really decide beforehand which of the cities we wanted to see we ended up visiting them both. Thus, I try to give you my views and impressions of Glasgow and Edinburgh in the following paragraphs.
Let's start with the more populous Glasgow: it’s said to be a dynamic metropolis that is known for its shopping lanes and its vibrant nightlife. Glasgow is a “city city” with a lot of things going on there. The centre with its wide streets and its imperial buildings reminded me of the inner districts of Vienna. Apart from that, you have pretty huge parks - perfect for a relaxing afternoon - and a modern riverside with a bunch of architectural gems. Another highlight are the botanical gardens that charge no entrance fees. Even without any knowledge on plants I could spend hours in these lush gardens with its fancy greenhouses. The designer in me was also fascinated by the consistent city branding. The remarkable pink “People make Glasgow” campaign can be found throughout the whole city. It immediately sticks to your mind and makes Glasgow stand out from other towns - at least for me as a design enthusiast.
Anyway, some people claim that Glasgow is quite a rough place. After staying there for four days I wouldn’t agree with that though. Maybe it was because the nice weather (got my first sunburn of the year there) or the areas we visited but we never felt uncomfortable strolling around the city. The only exception was the smell in the reception of our hotel - however, that’s another story.
60 kilometres east of Glasgow is the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. It’s smaller yet more historical and touristy than the first one. To me, the city centre seems like the Scottish Version of Salzburg. There is the a big castle that sits enthroned on a hill looking down on the old city centre with its numerous historic buildings. Due to its compact size, it’s easy to navigate through Edinburgh. Consequently, you can find a lot of sights within a small area. There you’ll encounter a great number of tourists and an even greater number of Scottish gift shops and bagpipe players.
As there aren’t so many people living there, Edinburgh is generally way calmer than Glasgow. Sometimes you wouldn’t even assume that you’re in a city - it’s nearly idyllic. My favourite spot in Edinburgh is for sure the hill that is located on the opposite side of the castle. From the top you have a stunning view over the town as well as over the surrounding mountains and the sea. Despite the heavy winds we sat there for a while enjoying the city as well as some typical and utterly delicious shortbread - didn't know before how much I'm into shortbread.
Well, as you can see, Glasgow and Edinburgh are very different cities and are quite hard to compare - just like Vienna and Salzburg. Thus, it’s hard to make an universal decision on which one is superior to the other. It more depends on what kind of city and lifestyle you’d prefer - for me it would be the livelier Glasgow. Let me know what's your opinion on this crunch questions.
Julia Johnston and Logan Kelly